WASHINGTON — Some neighbors in Southeast DC said their mail is still arriving late, and they don't trust that USPS is doing anything to fix the problem.
Tom Donohue has lived in Anacostia for eight years and said missing or delayed mail has plagued his neighborhood for years.
"I continuously have had problems with our mail delivery, from the hour that it’s arrived to not arriving at all, to walking and pacing because I’m waiting for my medications to come in that I was expecting that didn’t come in," he said. "It’s scary to know that sometimes your medications are lifesaving and you have to take them every day and they’re not there."
The election happening during a pandemic has only heightened his concern about the unreliability of mail, as many voters -- Donohue included -- don't feel safe voting in person. He has a compromised immune system.
“The bad thing is it’s starting to crumble at a time when we really need it to be effective," Donohue said. "This is the first time in a long time that I recall needing the USPS to be so effective that it relies on something so large as an election.”
After complaining to his local post office multiple times and trying to call the service number provided -- and often not getting through -- he's fed up.
Donohue has one big question: "What is the issue post office?!"
One time, he recorded his mail carrier delivering his post a little before 11 p.m.
"[That] is absurd. It’s dangerous to our carriers," Donohue said. "It’s dangerous to us who have to come out to get it.”
A recent incident drove home just how dangerous being out that late can be. On June 26, DC Police said an armed robbery happened right on his block around 11:45 p.m. Donohue's security cameras captured the incident.
That's just one hour after those same cameras recorded his mailman dropping off letters one January night.
"Who knows? With an armed robbery happening around the same time, that could have been our mailman,” Donohue said.
He wants to be clear: he does not place blame on mail carriers for the delays. Donohue believes the problem is with the system, and starts at the top.
USPS sent the following statement in response to questions about the continued delays:
“The Postal Service recognizes that consistency is paramount to our customers. If a customer has a concern about service, we encourage them to contact us by calling 1-800-ASK-USPS, online at www.usps.com, or through Twitter @USPSHelp.”
WUSA 9 pressed the Postal Service for clearer answers, after neighbors said they've tried to call that number for help and have gotten nowhere, and the spokesperson referred our team back to that initial statement.
Donohue is calling on local and national leaders to fix the problem now, so he and other voters feel safe trusting USPS with their ballots.
“Congress next week will be interviewing our Postmaster General. They got to hold him accountable," he said. "Every single person in this country should be concerned about what’s happening with the post office. This is an election at risk. And if you hadn’t waken up to it across the country, this is a major issue.”